PORTLAND – This time, Tina Ellertson couldn’t say no.
After turning down Portland Thorns FC multiple times since February, the Vancouver native and former women’s national team defender on Wednesday signed with the Thorns for the remainder of the National Women’s Soccer League season.
“After a while you realize you only get one shot at this kind of stuff,” Ellertson said.
So when Thorns coach Cindy Parlow Cone called on Monday, Ellertson said yes.
The 31-year-old was in uniform, but did not play, in Wednesday’s 3-1 Thorns win over Sky Blue FC. Watching from the bench, she said, “was an awesome atmosphere. It almost brought a tear to my eye. I just hope I can contribute and make an impact.”
Wednesday was the final day NWSL teams could add players for the 2013 season, which will end with the Aug. 31 championship match.
Drafted in the first round of the NWSL Supplemental Draft, Ellertson and the Thorns failed to agree to contract terms prior to the season. But with only a month left in the season and the Thorns looking for backline depth, the timing was right. Ellertson said many of her friends on the Thorns and other NWSL teams helped her decide to give it a shot.
“She’s a world class player,” Parlow Cone said. “I’ve wanted her since the preseason, but for different reasons we couldn’t do it.”
Ellertson has made 34 appearances on defense for the U.S. women’s national team, including three games during the 2007 Women’s World Cup.
Ellertson is the assistant coaching director for Salmon Creek Soccer Club. She coaches several FC Salmon Creek premier level teams. At the start of the NWSL season she said that she wanted to focus on her coaching duties and spending time with her two daughters. August is a busy month for youth soccer, but Ellertson said her father — Salmon Creek Soccer Club coaching director Joe Frimpong — convinced her not to miss this opportunity.
“For me it’s about being able to juggle it all. I think this will be a good test to see if I can,” Ellertson said.
Ellertson graduated from Hudson’s Bay High School in 2000. As a forward at the University of Washington, Ellertson was voted the Pac-10 Conference player of the year in both 2003 and 2004. Ellertson last played professionally in 2011 with Florida-based magicJack in Women’s Professional Soccer. She played three seasons in WPS and was a two-time all-star in that league.